CSF Computer Coding Workshops: Barbados, Dominica & St. Lucia
The knowledge-based workforce of the future will be heavily dependent on computer coding skills. It is believed that in the very near future computer coding will be as essential a skill to have for many entry-level positions, in the same way that word processing and spreadsheet facility is today. Around the world, developing countries are training more and more of their students in computer programming (coding), and much of that focus begins with html (for Website development) and cell-phone apps. Even at this level, the Caribbean is being left behind in the race. By not sufficiently developing computer programming skills in its population, the Caribbean is unable to take full advantage of its potential to build a modern-day workforce and to diversify its economies.
In order to help the Caribbean catch up with other developed countries, beginning in January 2018, the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), Scotiabank, and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS partnered to launch a Level I pilot of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops which ran on Saturday mornings in Barbados. The Workshop is being replicated in St. Lucia and Dominica. The first two offerings of the St. Lucia Workshop took place from January 12 to March 30, 2019 at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, and from September 28 to December 14, 2019 at St. Mary’s College. The first offering of the Dominica Workshop will take place from January 4 to March 28, 2020. The longer-term plan is to continue to replicate the coding workshops in other Caribbean Countries in subsequent years, as needed, based on funding availability.
The goals of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops are to: (1) stimulate more interest in science and engineering careers, (2) help address the challenge of increasing the low numbers of skilled ICT workers in the Region, (3) help train the technology workforce of the future (especially retraining of retrenched workers), (4) stimulate more technology-based entrepreneurship by encouraging the formation of more globally competitive ICT companies, (5) help get more students interested in going beyond programming into the field of computer science, and (6) help prepare students for university study in the STEM disciplines.
These goals are consistent with the overall CSF goals of helping to diversify the economies of the Region and thereby raise the standard of living of the people. Thus, CSF projects have a long-term focus on stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship, and grooming the next generation of Caribbean science and engineering leaders.
Upcoming Workshop Schedule
Barbados – January 4 – March 21, 2020
Dominica – January 11 – March 28, 2020
St. Lucia: Not offered January 2020
A link to the on-line student application forms is provided below.
Because of limited resources, total enrollment in the Workshops is limited to about 25 participants per session. Applicants must be Caribbean citizens. Persons less than 15 years old on January 1 are not eligible to apply to the January Coding Workshops. Similarly, persons less than 15 years old on September 1 are not eligible to apply to the September Coding Workshops. Girls are especially invited to apply. Other targeted applicants are: (1) out-of-school and at-risk youth, (2) disabled individuals, and (3) secondary school science and mathematics teachers.
Only candidates who are serious about computer programming and/or computer science should apply, as these workshops are mathematically rigorous and homework will be assigned each week. These are not camps where children come predominantly to have fun, but serious fast-paced workshops. Candidates who are not prepared to do homework and some learning on their own (or in teams) should not apply, as they will probably not be able to keep up with the class. Playing of video games, social media interaction, Website browsing unrelated to the Workshop, and other distracting or disruptive activity while at the Workshop may result in expulsion. Please note that Workshop participants are expected to bring their own computers (that meet our minimum specifications) to the camp, as the CSF is unable to provide computers.
Why this Coding Workshop?
This Workshop provides a significant foundation to anyone who wants to dive into the world of tech and computers. More specifically, the Web and mobile Apps. Beginners often want to build the next “Facebook” or “Google” without first mastering the fundamentals. Hence, this workshop aims to cover the basics while still providing a taste of the more advanced code libraries used to accomplish fascinating results:
- Voice Controlled Website
- Gamepad/Joystick/Xbox Controlled Website (Useful for games)
Or interacting with a mobile app by:
- Shaking a mobile device
- Using a Cellphone Camera
- Reading the Cellphone light sensor (Used to adjust screen brightness automatically)
Amongst other cool capabilities.
Have a look for yourself at the following News articles to see how creative past students have been:
Camp Structure and Curriculum
Preliminary Level I Syllabus
Wk1 – Registration
. – Opening ceremony
. – Principles of web design
Wk2 – Introduction to HTML (A Basic Website + FREE Web-hosting!)
Wk3 – Introduction to CSS (Font colors and sizes)
Wk4 – HTML & CSS – A Deeper look (Animations + Stylesheets )
Wk7 – Team Selections + Introduction to Mobile apps with Cordova
. – Using Cordova to convert websites to apps
Wk8 – Adding Cordova Plugins (Using camera, torchlight & proximity sensor)
Wk9 – Teams Choose projects
Wk10 – Teams Complete Final projects
Wk11 – Showcase Preparation and rehearsal
Wk12 – Showcase & Closing Ceremony
Anticipated Benefits of the Coding Workshops
- A raised awareness and increased opportunities for more persons to consider science and engineering as career options
- Better preparation of our students for university study in the STEM disciplines
- A more appropriately trained future knowledge-based workforce – more graduates with enhanced skill sets and qualifications will obtain entry level positions in the workplace (especially at-risk youth)
- Promotion of more technology-based entrepreneurship, and more self-employment opportunities for our youth
- Eventual formation of more globally competitive ICT companies that could bring in more foreign exchange
- Scale up and spreading of coding workshops into other Caribbean countries
- Regional mobilization onto a path to catch up with the more developed countries in the ICT areas
- Ignition and nurturing of the inventiveness in our youth so that the next “Google” has a reasonable probability of coming out of the Caribbean
Selection Criteria for Level I Students
The CSF Coding Workshop Admissions Committee will be responsible for selecting the participants. Because of budget and space limitations, the Committee will limit the number of participants in each workshop level. Only complete applications that arrive before the application deadline will be considered. Also, the lower age limit and the citizenship requirement will be strictly enforced. Thereafter, applications will be selected taking the following factors into consideration in decreasing order or importance:
- The Admissions Committee’s assessment of the applicant’s interest and passion for STEM based on the submitted materials
- The age of the applicant (qualified older applicants may be given preference over younger applicants who have to option to re-apply in a later year)
- The date the application was received (early applications given preference over later ones)
SPRING 2020 APPLICATION FORMS (Barbados and Dominica)
Please carefully read the instructions below, before you begin to fill out your application. Links to the on-line student application forms are provided below.
- Barbados Level I Workshop Application Deadline: 26 December 2019 at 11:59 pm
- Barbados Level I Workshop Dates: January 4 – March 21, 2020. Saturdays, 9:00am – 12 noon at the UWI, Barbados Campus.
- Dominica Level I Workshop Application Deadline: 29 December 2019 at 11:59 pm
- Dominica Level I Workshop Dates: January 11 – March 28, 2020. Saturdays, 9:00am – 12 noon at Newtown Primary School
- St. Lucia workshop not offered in January 2020.
- Before you begin to fill out the application form, please read Overview of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops in its entirety.
- A complete application consists of 4 Sections. Sections I, II and III (the Web-based application components) can be filled out and uploaded at http://caribbeanscience.org/login. Section IV is a one-page application verification form (in pdf format) that is to be downloaded, signed and e-mailed back to the CSF.
- To access Sections I – III of the student application form, you must first fill out the CSF registration form at http://caribbeanscience.org/login/. Note that the same basic application forms are used for the Barbados, Dominica and the St. Lucia Workshops. On the application form, please check the appropriate box for your country near the top of the form.
- After you have uploaded the Web-based sections, you (and your parent if you are under 18 years of age) must sign and submit Section IV (your Application Verification) which can be found as a one-page pdf file at CCW Student Application Form Section IV.
- Please return Section IV to us as an attachment by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications that consist only of the Web-based components will be rejected.
- Make sure your full name appears on any and all supplementary documents/attachments you submit to us.
- Please type your responses whenever possible (illegible handwritten documents may not be accepted). Type N/A for questions which are not applicable.
- Attachments with the content upside down on the page will annoy most reviewers. Please make sure the content in your attachments is upright and legible.
- Please name your attachments to reflect their contents. We suggest you name your attachments using the following format “SPRING 2020 CCW application-your country-your first name-your last name-document name”. Attachments with file names such as “scan 001” could cause your attachment to be misfiled. If this happens your application will be deemed incomplete.
- Applications will be rejected if incomplete or uploaded/emailed later than the application deadline.
- If admitted to the Workshop, the Workshop fee of $ 200 in the currency of your country is due in advance of participation in the Workshop. Special arrangements for weekly or monthly payments can be made.
Use the checklist (below) of required supporting materials to help you complete your package.
Check off each item as you submit it online, or as you attach it and submit it by e-mail to email@example.com.
- Copy of document showing proof of Caribbean citizenship – sent by e-mail or uploaded in Section I.
- A high resolution photograph (passport style) of yourself sent by e-mail or uploaded in section I.
- Uploaded the web-based application components (Sections I – III).
- Signed copy of Section IV (page 2 of this document) sent by e-mail. This form is required in addition to the filled out Web-based components (Sections I – III).
The participant workshop fee of $200 in the currency of the country helps to offset the costs of running the workshops. For participants who are unable to pay in full at the beginning of the workshop, arrangements can be made for weekly or monthly payments. A minimum of $20 in the currency of the country is due at the time of registration.
For Level II Instructor applicants, facility with Python is expected. Level II Instructors will be expected to have some experience with the application of coding to video games, programming Raspberry Pis and micro-controllers for the control of machines (robots, drones, appliances, and the Internet of Things) as well as to the processing of big data using machine learning algorithms.
To apply for an Instructor position please fill out either the on-line Web-based application at
or the manual application which can be downloaded as a pdf or Word file via the two links below:
The completed forms should be e-mailed back to the CSF headquarters along with the other requested documents. Our needs vary with time, as we add more sections and more Workshop levels, so we can keep your application on file if a position is not immediately available.
Key partners of the CSF are the Barbados Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
A Future Level II Workshop
Some time in a near future we hope to offer a Level II workshop for intermediate and advanced programmers. The primary coding language for the Level II Camp will be Python, although other modern languages may be adopted as necessary for problem solving and specific applications. Level II will focus on the applications of coding to problem solving in a variety of areas including science, engineering, social science, art, and industries such as tourism and financial services. Examples of Level II projects could include video games, programming Raspberry Pis and micro-controllers for the control of machines (robots, drones, appliances, and the Internet of Things) as well as the processing of big data using machine learning algorithms, and other applications that may be of interest to the teams.
Python is one the fastest growing programming languages, and has been chosen owing to:(1) its simplicity, flexibility, compactness and readability, (2) the strength of its standard library, (3) its widespread adoption today as the entry-level language of choice in the world’s leading science and engineering universities, and (4) to assist the Region in moving away from Pascal at the CSEC examination level. The greatest immediate challenges are finding a competent Python instructor and enough students who would take the class.